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State Board Hearings

What can be appealed to the State Board of Education?

Any dispute between individuals and school systems and the Department of Education.

Now that I am scheduled for a hearing, what happens?

After the request is received, the Department will schedule a pre-hearing and hearing before a hearings officer. The hearing officer, on behalf of the Board, conducts both the pre-hearing and hearing. The hearing officer's role is to act as a fact finder and, after the hearing, to submit his/her recommendation to the State Board. The State Board, at its next scheduled meeting, offers both parties in the dispute 10 minutes oral argument during which to present their case to the Board. After the parties' presentation, the Board will decide whether or not to follow the hearing officer's recommendation.

If I don't want a hearing are there other options available to me?

The Department offers two alternative dispute resolution methods which are available to both parents and school districts. One is a neutral conference, the other mediation. (See Take a Look at Mediation and Take a Look at Neutral Conferences)

What if I want to try mediation or a neutral conference?

Contact the other party in the dispute to see whether they are willing to enter mediation or a neutral conference. If both parties agree, the school district contacts the Department of Education with 4 dates during which the parties would be available. If a hearing is already scheduled, the parties must send a written request for continuance to the Hearing Officer, stating the date when they will be able to resume the hearing. The parties will then send a letter requesting mediation. Included in the request will be the 4 dates during which they will be available.

Please note: Before their hearing can be cancelled and a mediation scheduled, the parties must first receive approval to postpone the hearing from the Hearing Officer assigned to their case.

What is a pre-hearing conference?

An informal discussion to simplify and clarify the issues on appeal including discussions of settlement, numbers of witnesses, changes to standard hearing procedures and discovery requests.

What if I can't attend the scheduled pre-hearing and/or hearing?

If, for some reason, a party is unable to attend the scheduled hearing day, they must contact the other party and agree to a date when both parties are available. Within 5 days of receipt of he scheduling letter, they contact the hearing officer in writing, stating why they cannot attend, and the date when both parties are available. The Hearing Officer will then rule on whether or not the hearing will be rescheduled. Unless the parties receive written confirmation from the hearing officer, they should assume the hearing is still on.

How do I prepare for the pre-hearing conference?

Prior to the pre-hearing, there are several things that each party must do to prepare for the conference. Both parties should file a detailed written statement of what you are appealing, why you are appealing, and how you want to see things changed. Parents, if they have not already done so prior to the pre-hearing conference, should also submit a copy of their local school board's decision.

Can I subpoena witnesses? If so, how do I do it?

Yes. Procedures used to subpoena can be discussed during the pre-hearing conference.

How long does a hearing take?

Depending on the complexity of the dispute, a hearing can take anywhere from half a day to several days.

When there are many issues to be resolved, the process takes longer than when the issues are few. Complex issues may take a several days.

What does a hearing cost?

Depending on if a lawyer represents you, bring witnesses, and if placement is the issue, costs can range from a few hundred dollars (time away from work) to thousands of dollars.

How do I appeal if I am dissatisfied with the State Board's decision?

Petitioner can request a rehearing within 30 days of the Board's decision (Ed 214.02). The Board will grant or deny the motion at the next Board meeting. The administrative process is concluded with the Board's action on the rehearing request. Your next step would be an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711